Queensland Government horticulturists will deliver a new National Banana Development and Extension program to support the industry during the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the five-year program will help to maintain the banana industry’s viability through job retention and growth.
“The new program aims to build on previous achievements, helping to grow capacity in the banana industry and assisting growers to make informed positive changes to their businesses,” Mr Furner said.
“Our extension officers will also be looking out for opportunities to work closely with growers doing small on-farm innovation trials with a regional focus based on industry priorities.
“COVID-19 has had an impact on every industry, but the Palaszczuk Government is working closely with the agricultural industry to make sure the industry continues to be supported.
“Our agriculture industry will be an important part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, and we will stand side by side with primary producers and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support.”
Mr Furner said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries team will visit banana farms with a renewed focus on one-on-one grower contact.
“This will give our horticulturists a greater understanding of the current needs and issues of growers as well as identifying any opportunities for assistance specific to their farm,” Mr Furner said.
“The new program will deliver information on the latest banana research and development through national banana roadshows, field days and workshops, the Better Bananas website, Australian Banana Congress and other special events.
“Support for NextGen, the industry’s young grower groups in Queensland and New South Wales, will continue, with a focus on innovation and technology.”
The project team will take a risk-management approach and adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, delivering activities that are flexible, interactive, in small groups, via teleconferencing and other e-extension tools.